This was the beginning of a much needed and deserved vacation after about 6 months of working nearly nonstop. Seriously I averaged about 70 hours a week between my full time job and freelance work.
I left Los Angeles on a Tuesday and arrived in Nadi, Fiji on a Thursday morning; my first time skipping a whole day all together. The flight was about 11 hours and sat next to an appropriately social guy named Cory who travels all over the world seeking the best SCUBA diving spots. I say appropriately social because sometimes its super awkward if you never speak to the person next to you for the entire duration of the flight but it's better than the other extreme where your air-neighbor tries to talk your ear off.
Honestly, when we landed it felt like I had flown half way around the world just to end up back in South Florida because it was just as hot and humid as my home state. But there was a pretty awesome sunrise since we landed so early so I focused on that instead.
Anyways, said air-neighbor stuck together through baggage claim and customs until it was time to go our separate ways both literally and figuratively. I serendipitously acquired transportation from the airport in Nadi to the Westin Resort in Denarau when I was asking an employee what my options were to get there and a friendly voice in my vicinity said "We're going to the Westin." I turned around to see a couple roughly my parents' age that looked just as pleasant as the voice had sounded. I only had to pay $10 FJD to tag along to the small shuttle they had previously booked. Good thing too, because I had done next zero planning for this place besides (obviously) the flight and the room reservation.
The shuttle drove us several miles through third world-ish city and landscapes that reminded me a lot of Costa Rica and the smaller towns in Kenya that I've visited previously. Then, as soon as we crossed the bridge from Nadi to Denarau, the view became golf courses and resorts for as far as the eye could see. Quite the contrast, but every bit the paradise I was promised on all those bottles of water back home.
Even though it was still only barely breakfast time, the Westin had my room ready right away (no doubt since I'm a gold level Starwood Preferred Guest). I was greeted by a spacious room with two Heavenly queen beds and a ground-level ocean view. The first thing I did was change into a bikini and take a dip in the pool along with my newfound friends and fellow Westin guests, Harriet and Gordon. I later enjoyed a yummy yet overpriced lunch and dinner at the resort and caught up on some much needed sleep. I'd like to say I won the lottery and was able to pay for these five nights with a fraction of my prize, but in actuality I used several years worth of Starpoints, saving myself $850.
The jet lag really messed with my head this time as I went to take a shower later and after several attempts of turning the knob to the right, I ended up calling the front desk to inform them that I didn't have hot water. Instead of just turning the handle to the left. Like the maintenance guy did. When he arrived a couple minutes later. And giggled a little bit at my idiocy. FACEPALM.